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Drilling, Alternative for Youth Wrestlers
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By:Thomas A. Long

USWA Bronze Certified Coach

Texoma Twisters Wrestling Club

Part I: Awareness Series

Written for His House Ministries June 2004

DRILLING, ALTERNATIVE FOR YOUTH WRESTLERS

How many times have we all went to wrestling functions whether it was tournaments, special guest appearances, camps, etc. to see our favorite wrestlers, our icons. The wonderful athletes that have been positively programmed in our minds so that we had good role models to look up. You’ve waited all your life to see, meet, maybe even get a handshake from your wrestling icon. What did you think? How did they look? Was it what you expected?

Picture this, You’re in a line and your almost right next to your favorite wrestler. He’s the, “All American Wrestler”, who’s been your icon ever since you can remember. You’ve been told about him ever since you were little. You have a scrapbook filled with newspaper articles, pictures, and computer downloads. While you were in line, you noticed that nobody has shaken his hand . You’re hoping that you’ll be the first. You’re hoping that you can tell everyone that you shook the “All American Wrestler’s” hand. You’re so excited you can hardly control yourself. As you slide into your place in front of the table, you smile. You’re happy that you’ve been acknowledge with a smile and some nice small talk about the sport that you both love.

He signs your lucky pair of wrestling shoes that you haven’t worn in twenty years. He did it with his left hand and his signature isn’t even readable but, You don’t care. He signed your shoes. The pair that took you to states that one great season. After he signs the shoes, you reach your hand across the table as a admirable and humble gesture. You just want to touch, a personal contact with your hero. You look him dead in the eye because you want to remember this moment forever. As your hands reaches out ever closer and closer toward your childhood hero, You notice in his eyes a look of fear. You notice that he is moving back in his chair as fast as he can. He’s trying to stay as far away from your handshake as possible. You wonder what’s wrong? You know that you don’t have rabies. Why is he acting like this?

As you look down at his side you notice that he has his hand gingerly tucked to his side. Your mind can’t decipher what your seeing. You start to study his whole appearance. The light that once radiated and surrounded your icon starts to dissipate. Your vision is being corrected as your awareness becomes clear in a matter of seconds. Your picture becomes all to clear. You shake your head in disbelief. This can’t be so. Your idol is not this specimen of athleticism that he once was. Again, Either are you. There’s just something sad about your icon though. A sense of sympathy comes over you. He’s all broken down. You realize that your hero which gave so much to the sport that you both love also, gave his right shoulder and hand. You quietly slip away. On your way, you notice that the “All American Wrestler” takes his right hand in his left and from his shoulder, slowly moves it under the table onto his lap. How could this have happened?

As we all know, This has happened to many times to count. It is probably to late for us to rectify the chronic pains to our bodies, short of surgeries, shots, and medicines but, We can be AWARE of these “down the road” injuries for our wrestlers. Do accidents happen? Sure they do. I’m talking about using what has happened in the past to educate and make us AWARE of the future. We only have two shoulders, two hands, two knees, one back, and one neck. You get the point. All of these parts of the body move at the joint or have several points where rotation is possible. They are controlled by muscles and tendons that make moving possible. At every joint there is a “lubricant”, if you will, a cartilage , that makes your movement a flowing one. Because of this fluid you are able to move your body parts, at the joints, with ease. Now, we are not like the tin man, we can’t just get a can of oil and lube up the body part that we need to move. Once our lubrication is gone, That’s It. No matter how many needles of cortisone we get, nothing can bring our fluid back. Our shoulders and knees start cracking. Our back and neck become stiff and rigid. Those everyday things that are so precious to us after our wrestling careers are over, are now painful memories and efforts. We have no joy in them.

We loose our “lubrication” by the constant and excessive pounding, torqueing, and wrenching of our wrestlers bodies at the grassroots level. That’s right. When we are at the youth level. When our wrestlers are in their developmental stages, bones are growing and getting dense, muscles are developing and beginning to get longer and take shape. Lots of wonderful things are taking place. That’s when we need to be most cautious. What we have our wrestlers do in the strive for success in their youth years, could in fact be hurting them, permanently.

Constant live wrestling for longer periods of time is damaging to our wrestlers bodies. The constant torqueing that our wrestlers hands, ankles, knees, elbows, backs, necks, and shoulders endure throughout several or even hundreds of “practices” is in fact damaging the very wrestler that we are trying so hard to help.

Alternative to this is constant live wrestling is drilling. In drilling unlike live wrestling, partner do not have to be the same exact weight. Age and experience are second because improving is first concern, not winning. Drilling properly, gives our wrestlers the foundation, movements, situations, and mental state that they need to have for the sport of wrestling, without the constant stress on their bodies. Drilling also helps our wrestlers to become more fluent, faster and confident in their moves and abilities. They also will learn faster and are able to improve on their technique. The constant repetition of the moves makes their actions and reactions second nature to them. The constant moving with proper exercising will build the endurance that they need for wrestling. Drilling can be done alone: Footwork, Sprawling, Hip heist, Stand ups, Granby’s, etc., or with a partner: Takedowns, Whip over, Switches, etc. These are just some examples. We all must remember to take care of our wrestlers bodies, They are looking to us for guidance and are trusting us with their very bodies. I think everyone will agree that we need live wrestling in practice. I’m just saying that at the same time we need common sense. As coaches, wrestlers, and parents, we are to put our wrestlers health, not just today but ,their health down the road, first.

 

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